There is no such thing as a problem-free life, especially for business leaders and their key managers and supervisors. These business professionals must all learn to stay calm in the middle of problems, or risk becoming trapped in ‘victim-hood’ and the negative behaviors that accompany not accepting what can’t be changed. Worrying about what can’t be changed doesn’t solve problems. Relationships can be broken if these leaders are resentful about what cannot be changed. Feeling guilty about things that might have done differently with perfect hindsight won’t correct a lost opportunity.

Since problems are an inevitable fact of life, we should use them to build our character, skills, and attitude. There are a couple of emotional traps that accompany the inevitability of tough times. Think about each of them as you face disappointment.

1. The People Trap - We get disappointed by people because we expect them to usually do what they say, or follow-thru, or be honest in what they say. This is unrealistic. Most people will put their own needs ahead of anyone else. Our problem is not the person who let us down or surprised us. The problem is our response to them if we have become angry or resentful. Don’t get trapped in the blame game or resent people who you think let you down. Instead, think about what might have justified their action, calmly ask them to help you understand, and adjust your approach the next time.

2. The Withdrawal Trap – Too often when people experience disappointment they withdrawal from the situation, the business account, the people involved. If this kind of behavior happens early in a relationship, it’s basically an admission that you think that avoidance is a strategy for finding happiness and success……because ‘they were the problem’. If this is a pattern or becomes one, you need to look in the mirror. Your response to this trap is a test of the kind of character you’re going to develop.

It’s no coincidence. Good business people have strong character; they understand that only by cultivating high quality relationships over time will they enjoy success. Building these relationships requires persistence through the tough times, and empathy with those you work with.

Using Trials to Strengthen Your Business